I was 22 years old when I had my first mole biopsy. The results of the test came back with a diagnosis of severe dysplastic nevi. I have since had twelve moles removed all returned a result of dysplastic nevus with the exception of one mole removed roughly one year ago. The unfortunate result of this mole removal was Stage 1 Melanoma. I was left in shock, and immediately my mind went to nervous and scared.
After my first mole biopsy I was told by my dermatologist that I should have a thorough annual examine to check on my entire body. I followed the instructions for several years, but then life became a little hectic as I was blessed with three lovely children and my amazing husband. I put my health on the back burner and focused my attention on my children’s needs and health. In hind side I have realized my good health is a primary need to all of them. However, I viewed my life style as very healthy because I ate well, ran daily and used sun protection when spending time outdoors. I was the type of person that would be considered to be of excellent health. The turning point was during my third pregnancy, which is when I noticed a small mole on the right side of my face turned a dark brownish black color. I was still not overly concerned based on my previous history and it took me until seven months after the birth of my son to make an appointment. It turns out this was the best and worst appointment I had made with my dermatologist as I was told the dark spot was melanoma.
The Stage 1A Melanoma on the right side of my face was surgically removed shortly after the appointment and left a three inch scar along my right cheek. I’m now post-surgery and as part of my follow up I go every three months for a full body screening. The appointments are met with nervousness and worries, but so far I gain my peace of mind when completed. I will never miss a screening, because I could be potentially neglecting my health and family. The excuse that “life is too hectic” has been erased from my vocabulary! I can honestly say that I am comfortable with my three inch scar on my face, as it will always serve as a visible reminder. Additionally, since I can’t hide the large scar it allows me the opportunity to tell my story and educate other people. The refreshing part of that experience is that I can potentially save the life of another person that questions a unique mole or marking on their body. I’ve learned to never take my health for granted and live life to the fullest, with plenty of SPF in my bag!